At the Foot of My Rival (Curb Appeal)
by Tim Den
It’s both sad and comical to think back to a time when The Get Up Kids seemed like the lowest cutesy point possible in indie rock culture. Ah, if we could’ve only forseen Myspace in 2007! If I’d known that The Get Up Kids would sound like Captain Beefheart compared to what passes as emo/punk/indie these days, perhaps I would’ve cut them more slack, especially seeing as the band would go on to outgrow its shallow beginnings into a damn fine Americana band: one that, in line with the tradition of artists finally learning to master their craft, would be completely ignored by old and new fans alike. Such is the way of the music world.
Guitarist/vocalist Matt Pryor started The New Amsterdams as a side project when The Get Up Kids were still active, devoting most of his folkier/mellower output to the moniker. Years later, the band is his main gig, and it has taken over where The Get Up Kids left off. Now much more Bruce Springsteen than indie rock, The New Amsterdams have never sounded better than on At the Foot of My Rival. Every guitar lick, easy-going beat, and Midwestern melody rings full-bodied like fine wine, flavorful and savory with each slow taste. If The Weakerthans, later Chamberlain, and The Promise Ring’s Wood/Water are to your liking, then there’s no reason why you wouldn’t dig this. Hell, put it on for dad, and he just might shed a tear to its Tom Petty-friendly sounds.
If, in 10 years, every eyeliner-wearing kiddiemo band turned out albums as good as At the Foot of My Rival, I’d gladly eat all the bullshit I threw their way. Until then, turn this one up, sit on your porch, and take in the crisp fall air.